The Civil Service Commission
With a few exceptions, terms and conditions of employment for state employees are determined by the Civil Service Commission, a four member panel appointed by the Governor. Originally created in 1908, the Commission was established to prevent state employment from descending into a partisan "spoils system".
Under Article XI, Section 5 of the state Constitution, the "classified state civil service" consists of all state employees except for elected officials, appointed board members and department heads, employees of the courts, legislature, and state colleges, and a handful of policy-making personnel. A 1978 Constitutional amendment extended collective bargaining and binding arbitration to state police troopers and sergeants, effectively removing them from the Civil Service Commission's jurisdiction as well.
That leaves more than 60,000 state employees under the authority of the Civil Service Commission. The Constitution specifies that no more than two members may be members of any single political party. Commission members serve eight year-terms.
The Civil Service Commission issues rules governing workplace relations, establishes classifications for state employees based on responsibilities and requirements for each position, and is responsible for setting wages and benefits. The Commission must also approve all "personal services" contracts entered into by the state, which includes contracts to private or nonprofit entities.
Since 1980 Civil Service Commission rules have provided for collective bargaining, and approximately 45,000 state employees have taken advantage of the opportunity to organize into unions. Unions are recognized by election, and can bargain over terms and conditions of employment. Contracts are reviewed to assure that they comply with Civil Service Commission rules, but this rarely affects wages and benefits. When parties are unable to agree on new contract terms the dispute is submitted first to the Employee Relations Board, (a three member panel whose members are appointed by the Commission) which will make a recommended settlement. If this fails to resolve the matter, the Civil Service Commission will make a final decision on the terms of a contract.